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6 September 2005
Biosecurity New Zealand is asking Aucklanders, and particularly those
in Devonport and the central city, to keep an eye out for a pair of
red-vented bulbul birds that have recently been sighted in the area.
The birds, native to parts of Asia, are one of the world's most
invasive species, and are common in other parts of the Pacific,
particularly Fiji and suburban Sydney. They are very active noisy brown
birds that are dark in colour with a light-coloured abdomen and a
distinctive crimson patch beneath their tails. They also have a black head
with a small peaked crest.
Red-vented bulbuls can cause significant damage to fruit and vegetable
crops and aggressively chase and attack other birds, and Biosecurity New
Zealand (BNZ) is concerned that a population may establish in Auckland
that could affect residents' gardens, native vegetation and birdlife. BNZ
is working with the Department of Conservation and Auckland Regional
Council to track the birds and eradicate them.
BNZ Senior Adviser Sonya Bissmire says the sooner the birds are dealt
with the better, as they may be about to breed.
"In the 1950s a small population of about 50 red-vented bulbuls became
established between Takapuna and Mt Eden after some were released from a
ship. It took until 1955 for them to be eradicated.
"It has been illegal to import these birds since the late 1960s. It is
not known how the recently-sighted birds arrived in Auckland, but they may
also have been released from a yacht or ship arriving in Auckland from
elsewhere in the Pacific," she says.
Biosecurity New Zealand is asking anyone who spots a red-vented bulbul
to call the MAF Exotic Disease and Pest Emergency Hotline on 0800 80 99 66
to report its location as soon as possible.
Media contact: Phil Barclay Senior Communications Adviser Biosecurity
New Zealand 027 229 9145.